Pupils at a Birmingham primary school are set to get Friday afternoons off – in a bid to save £100,000 in supply teacher costs.
Bordesley Green Primary School has announced plans for a four-and-a-half day week, with kids set to finish at 12.30pm on Fridays.
Headteacher Carole Harris has told parents of the school’s 744 children that this means that teachers can do their planning and preparation on Friday afternoons.
The move will also remove the need to bring in supply teachers to cover for them during the week.
She said that the school, which was last year rated ‘good’ by Ofsted, will save about £100,000 a year on supply staff costs.
School funding has become a major political issue, with unions claiming that big cities like Birmingham have been hit hard by changes in funding.
Last year the Government scrapped a proposed cut following protests from head teachers and unions.
In a letter to parents, Ms Harris said: “School governors are currently looking at many alternatives in order to effectively use the diminishing school budget, yet still provide the most caring and purposeful learning experiences, enabling your child to become a successful learner and citizen.”
She added that children will less likely see a supply teacher under the new timetable and youngsters would be able to do homework on Friday afternoons, giving them more free time at weekends.
The school stresses that pupils will still receive over the Department for Education’s recommended teaching hours and that those with free meals will not miss out.
Pupils up to Year Two would complete 23hrs 20mins a week, compared to a Government recommendation of 21 hours.
Years Three to Six will do 24hrs and 5mins a week, 35 minutes a week over the Government suggested level.
Pupils up to Year 2 will be fed at school and older children will be offered a pack lunch to take home.
Certain children, including those with working parents or special educational needs, will also be able to stay in school and do sports, clubs or homework.
The school, in Marchmont Road, Bordesley Green, is under city council control and declined to comment.
Parents were written to before the Easter break and given until April 20 (today) to comment on the changes.
Cabinet member for education Carl Rice said: “The letter to parents from Bordesley Green School is part of a consultation process as all schools have a duty to consult locally in this sort of situation.
“I can offer reassurance to both parents and pupils that if the consultation results in changes to the school day, the school must continue to provide at least the minimum required amount of teaching hours per week.
“The proposal in the letter to parents meets this requirement.
“Birmingham City Council is monitoring the situation closely.”